It’s not always an easy thing to get quality medical care in rural communities. That’s why Dr. Linda Stogner has practiced general family medicine in the East Mountains going on 35 years now.

Serving Presbyterian Medical Services through the Mountainair Family Health Center in Mountainair, and the Esperanza Family Health Center in Estancia, Dr. Stogner has earned the trust and respect of her patients and affiliates so much so that she was named one of Albuquerque Magazine’s Top Docs in Family Medicine for 2021.

Though she graduated from medical school in Albuquerque, and completed her subsequent residency in Amarillo, Texas, Dr. Stogner has made it her purpose to bring top care to anyone in need, regardless of their proximity to bigger cities.

The award was a bit of a surprise, she said, because “I wasn’t even working in Albuquerque!”

Dr. Stogner believes that the fact that both the Mountainair and Esperanza clinics immediately adopted telephonic cyber-visits for healthcare as soon as the pandemic hit last year probably endeared her to several voters.

Though many phone consultations were with people concerned about viral and respiratory issues, she said there were still plenty of individuals with varied medical needs, like getting an appendectomy as safely as possible, or what steps to take to get their annual physicals while following Covid safety protocols.

Presbyterian Medical Services stepped up to meet patients’ needs, and as a result, they’ve been busy throughout the whole pandemic, Dr. Stogner said. The organization has done a great job making sure prescriptions got filled, and ensuring that preventative medicine was still being practiced, she said.

Dr. Stogner said that as soon as vaccines were available, her clinics began administering them immediately.

Anyone interested in getting vaccinated is strongly encouraged by Dr. Stogner to contact either the Mountainair Family Clinic at 505-847-2271, or the Esperanza Family Clinic at 505-384-2777. “We’ll get you taken care of,” she said.

Dr. Stogner’s decision to pursue medicine as a career came from the same genesis as so many other successful doctors: she wanted to help people. “It’s who I am,” she said.

In addition to practicing family medicine in the Estancia and Mountainair, she’s also served as a ship’s physician on the National Geographic Explorer, and as medical director for the Forest Service, helping the wildland forest firefighters. She worked as a firefighter in the 1970s before settling on a career in medicine.

One of the things Dr. Stogner is most proud of, she said, is that she’s served families in her practice that span four and five generations. When a patient she met as a toddler starts bringing their own children in to see her, she feels real pride, she said.

It’s a privilege that doctors could miss out on if they don’t stay in the same place for 30+ years, she said.

According to Dr. Stogner, one of the best things about living in the area is knowing the community. By understanding the needs and challenges of residents here, she’s better able to work with patients, to look at their specific barriers, and to try to accommodate them so that they can remain in a smaller community.

Dr. Stogner also takes great pride in being able to help counsel families as they make the difficult decision to let ailing loved ones go comfortably and peacefully in their own homes. Families appreciate the guidance she can offer in helping them understand their options, she said.

Though she doesn’t do hospice work herself, she can help facilitate necessary communications in order to ensure the wishes of the family member in care are acknowledged and honored.

In addition to staying busy with her medical practices, Dr. Stogner visits her mother in Grants every weekend. She also enjoys riding her tandem bicycle with her retired engineer-husband Michael along State Highway 41 between Estancia and Moriarty. In fact, one of Dr. Stogner’s next health-related goals is to get signs up along her favorite biking route that read “Share the Road.”